Grammys snub heavy metal

The Grammy Awards saw nearly 80 different titles given out this year, ranging from Best New Age Album and Best Pop Solo Performance to Best Pop Instrumental Album and Album of the Year. In all of those categories, five contain pop in the title. There are four for rap, the same for country. There are five for jazz. There is one award for the genre of metal.

Do you know who won the Grammy for best metal performance this year? It was Tenacious D, a comedy rock band fronted by Jack Black. They won the Grammy for a cover, not an original track, of Ronnie James Dio’s “Last in Line.”

If you go back a few years, it becomes exceedingly simple to name every winner for the Best Metal Performance category. The last five years alone have been won by ancient bands that are “safe,” a band with an attractive female vocalist, and a mainstream band that is often considered hard rock, not heavy metal at all.

Of course, those examples don’t compare to the greatest snub, when Jethro Tull beat out Metallica in 1988 for the Grammy, but the fact stands that for a genre as widely consumed and subdivided as metal, music award shows tend to gloss over the entire genre.

The simple fact that the Grammys don’t have a solid category for metal is insulting to the genre. 2014 saw some amazing albums come from hundreds of different bands, and the Grammy went to a song from a compilation album filled with cover songs. Now don’t get me wrong, the song was covered well, but Metallica had put together a more original and creative medley than Tenacious D. However, that song wasn’t nominated. Anthrax’s cover of “Neon Knights” was though, as were Mot├Ârhead, Mastodon, and Slipknot, all previous nominees, and all bands that have been around for well over a decade at least.

In terms of actual new releases, 2014 saw the release of some fantastic music. Technical death metal band Fallujah released their sophomore album “The Flesh Prevails,” thrash metal band Machine Head released “Bloodstone & Diamonds,” and funeral doom ensemble Pallbearer released “Foundations of Burden.” Each one of these albums was a landmark release for these bands, and each reveals a level of excellence in each of the groups. None of those bands received the recognition that they so obviously deserve.

Now, it’s clear that shows like the Grammys will never have a plethora of categories for the massive list of subgenres that exist within the blanket title of metal. There will never be enough time in the show to cover them all anyway. But is it too much to ask to get other great bands recognized? No one else can be Metallica, Black Sabbath, or Iron Maiden, but a huge number of bands have put out work that is just as good if not better than anything the old tried and true bands have put out lately.

Perhaps the culture of metal doesn’t need such mainstream recognition, but it would be nice if some great bands got awards for the incredible work they’ve put out.